Ventura Projects in Milan must stop after 10 editions

Due to the global COVID-19 outbreak, Ventura Projects must come to a full stop after 10 successful editions.

After 10 successful editions and while fully prepared for the 11th edition of Ventura Projects during Milan Design Week 2020, Ventura Projects is no longer feasible. Both Ventura Centrale and Ventura Future had to be canceled due to the global COVID-19 outbreak.

Unfortunately, these cancellations have had a massive and irreversible impact on the company. Margriet Vollenberg, founder and art director of Ventura Projects, sadly had to make the impossible and heartbreaking decision to stop all Ventura Projects activities, leaving a massive gap in the entire design world. This means that after many successful editions the Ventura Projects events, organised by Organisation in Design, will no longer be on show during Milan Design Week and other international design events in the future. 

Ventura Projects - DNP
DNP installation – Photo Credits: Claudio Grassi

“It is with great sorrow that I’ve had to witness how the corona crisis has hit the entire world and event and design industry, and thus my company. I spent many sleepless nights worrying about whether and how I could save or transform my company to adjust to a new normal to still be able to serve the design world and enable the talent as we have always done. It is therefore with great pain in my heart that I came to the conclusion that it is no longer feasible to build on my dream, and therefore the dreams of many designers and design studios. The current circumstances leave me no other choice but to end Ventura Projects,” says Margriet Vollenberg.

For twenty-one years Vollenberg took a role as an organiser, coordinator, and matchmaker during Milan Design Week and over the past eleven years, as art director of Ventura Projects, she focused on giving a forum for international creatives launching their projects. With the support of two dedicated teams in the Netherlands and Italy, Ventura Projects exhibitors were offered guidance and promotion to give them the attention and exposure they deserved. 

Ventura Projects - Lesyeux
Installation by Lesyeux – Photo Credits: Claudio Grassi

Vollenberg continues: “Over the last few days my team and I have personally called individual designers, relations, and exhibitors of Ventura Projects. It was one of the most difficult tasks we have ever had to accomplish as a team. It was deeply sorrowing as well as heartwarming to talk to all our trusted friends and design lovers. For now, I look back with tremendous pride and gratitude on what my team and I have been able to accomplish in the international design world.

With more than 7000 exhibitors, we have been able to present countless ground-breaking and incredible solutions to the world. We sincerely hope that the energised atmosphere of global design events will return soon. More than ever, to cope with this crisis and the aftermath the world is in need of the creativity, playfulness, and ingenuity that design can offer.” 

Ventura Projects - NOROO Group
NOROO Group exhibition – Photo Credits: Claudio Grassi

Former exhibitors about Ventura Projects

Internationally renowned designer Maarten Baas says: “From scratch, Ventura Projects created something unique and was able to renew and expand their concept during the years. Many designers, including myself, have been given and seized opportunities to show themselves through Ventura Projects. They gave colour to Milan Design Week and visitors knew they could expect something good. I was shocked when Margriet called me and told me about the news. With the loss of Ventura Projects, a great catalyst has been lost.”

Ventura Projects not only worked with international designers and brands for years – but it also helped many of them launch their careers. 

Another voice is Satoshi Yoshiizumi, representative of Japanese design collective TAKT PROJECT: “We are very surprised and saddened by this sudden and sad announcement. TAKT PROJECT has participated in Ventura Projects a total of four times so far, but the solo exhibition at Ventura Centrale in 2019 was particularly memorable. I think it was one of the best opportunities of Milan Design Week, a very important place for an independent design studio like us, and a point of contact between visitors from all over the world, especially for works that are experimental and open to the future of design. Thank you very much, Ventura Projects!”

Ventura Projects - FREITAG
Installation by FREITAG – Photo Credits: Claudio Grassi

Italian designer Luca Nichetto shares: “I remember the day I met Margriet in Venice, and it was immediately clear to me that she had a distinct vision on how Ventura Projects could help designers and brands, creating a platform to support their ideas. A few years later I took part in the first edition of Ventura Centrale. We all had a pioneering spirit, great passion and curiosity. Now I can only thank Ventura Projects, for all it has done for our community. But above all I would like to thank them for giving me a great opportunity for professional growth.”

DesignWanted had the opportunity to interview Margriet Vollenberg and ask her a few questions about the future and what is next.

You have a clear understanding and first-hand experience in the design world, and with the current situation we are all questioning where do we go from here, but this can also be taken as an opportunity for innovation. What do you think the future of design is, where do you think it will go?

Margriet Vollenberg: “At the moment, nobody knows what is going to happen. We are in the middle of a problem that has no solution yes. What I now see in any case is that new design questions are arising. The new world we are entering now will have a lot of design questions because we have to reinvent it. We first have to pause and reassess and then we have to think of new answers to all these new questions.”

Ventura Projects - ARIA
Aria installation “Come to Light” – Photo Credits: Claudio Grassi

It is clear that this is a period of uncertainty for many, what would you say to all the designer out there? What piece of advice would you give them?

Margriet Vollenberg:Stay connected to each other! Communicate about how things are going, offer each other help, and work together. This problem is so big that it won’t be possible for 1 person or company to solve it. We all need to come together and collaborate to reinvent this new world we are entering.”

You certainly opened the doors for many designers in Milan with Ventura Projects, and it will leave an unbridgeable void in the design world, but we are also excited to see what you do next. What are the next steps for Margriet, how will you approach this new stage?

Margriet Vollenberg: “Honestly, at this point I don’t know. It was necessary for me to stop Ventura Projects, because I believe it was no longer an answer to the new questions that designers and the world will have. This is very sad, but it also creates space to think about where I want to go and how I can help designers navigate this new landscape.”

If you want to know more about Ventura Projects and their past exhibitions, don’t miss Ventura Projects stood out, whether as a design district or integrated exhibition.

Ventura Projects - Rapt Studio installation
Rapt Studio installation “Tell Me More” – Photo Credits: Claudio Grassi

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